The Club Report — Odyssey White Hot Pro Putters

The Club Report — Odyssey White Hot Pro Putters

Post image for The Club Report — Odyssey White Hot Pro Putters

Well Hello Old Friend!

Written by Dave Wolfe (@Golfspy Dave)

Odyssey Golf is a big deal in the putter market.  I know that’s something that I have gone on about before, but it’s always worth mentioning when we discuss Odyssey putters.  They have a huge presence on all of the professional tours, with many pros gaming Odyssey putters even though they are not under contract and thus not getting paid.  The number of amateur golfers playing Odyssey putters worldwide is likely staggeringly uncountable.  They are huge in the market, and they stay huge year after year.

How can they do this?

The way that Odyssey stays on top is that they are a forward-moving company.  For example, Odyssey takes risks with new crazy head shapes.  Some of them are winners and help propagate the brand, but others are not-well-received misses.  Is anyone still gaming that F7?  On the others side of the coin though, the Odyssey Versa line really shows how they can thrive outside of the “safe” zone.  Producing the Versa line at first looked risky, but later proved genius.  Odyssey stays competitive by being a progressive putter company.

So why did they go backwards with the re-introduction of the White Hot insert?  Why dial back the insert rather than moving forward ?  It’s not a recent past with the insert either.  The original White Hot line rolled into the market in 2000.  Yep, we are talking a thirteen-year rollback in golf technology.  Thirteen years in the golf industry is a lifetime of difference.  We are talking dinosaurs to dirigibles here.

Don’t believe me.  Well then go and replace your fancy new Callaway Optiforce driver with a vintage 2000 Callaway ERC driver.  I know, that guy, you loved the ERC.  However, ignoring that guy, the golf consumer will not typically tolerate a decade plus regression in technology.  Progress is the Odyssey plan though, so perhaps the “Pro” in White Hot Pro indicates something new.

 

So Why Bring the White Hot Insert Back?

People Love The White Hot

I know that I just gave that guy grief, but consumer adoration was likely one of the key motivators in resurrecting the White Hot insert.  When we visited Callaway last December and discussed the resurgence of the White Hot insert in the to-be-released White Hot Pro line, the designers cited demand as the first reason for bringing it back.  Consumers and professionals alike held fond memories for the White Hot insert.  Many pros who bag Odyssey putters were still using models with the White Hot insert.  The market demand was there, so it made sense to produce it.  Perhaps the less high-tech arena of putter technology also makes it easier to travel in reverse, unlike what would happen with a retrograde driver technology change.

The Technology Has Improved

Perhaps the most interesting thing about our White Hot Pro conversations at Callaway HQ in Carlsbad centered around the fact that this new insert was actually an improved, and more high-tech version of that year 2000 White Hot.  During the past decade, manufacturing techniques have improved such that this new White Hot Pro insert is not just a rehash of the old one. They share the name, but the “Pro” in White Hot Pro could as easily be short for progress as it is for professional.  These are some of the advances in the insert manufacturing process:

  • more precise insert thickness
  • improved flatness tolerance
  • improved chemistry, including greater chemical cross-linking between polymers (improves tone and feel)
  • inserts now laser-cut to shape and can thus be optimized to the head shape

How this all reads to me is that Odyssey has managed to take the essence of a putter insert, that many players view as being their historical best, and make it better.  Thus, the White Hot Pro line is not White Hot redo, but rather White Hot 2.0.

 

Which One Should You Try?

As always, the goal of a Club Reports article is to give you an idea about which of the new models would likely match your stroke.  Lets take a look at the fitting system that Odyssey is currently using via eyeFIT.  To get fit, you find an eyeFIT mirror, stand over it, and get your dash value.  Easy.  The number of dashes corresponds with how far your eyes rest inside the ball at address with an increase in distance from the ball translating to a hosel position change and an increase in putting arc.  We don’t have photos of all of the models today.  This time I focused on the more interesting ones, but I have included links to all of the available models under each fitting category.  You’re welcome…

 

Face Balanced – One Dash Putters

 

WHP #2 CS

Odyssey White Hot Pro16
Odyssey White Hot Pro18
Odyssey White Hot Pro15
Odyssey White Hot Pro17

White Hot Pro #2 CS Features

  • Squared off, heel-toe-weighted blade
  • Center-shaft
  • Zero Offset
  • Weight: 343g
  • Loft: 3°
  • Lie: 70°
  • Lengths: 33″, 34″, & 35″

 

WHP V-Line

Odyssey White Hot Pro21
Odyssey White Hot Pro25
Odyssey White Hot Pro23
Odyssey White Hot Pro22

White Hot Pro V-Line Features

  • Perimeter-weighted Mallet Head
  • Hi-Def Alignment System
  • Double-bend shaft
  • Full-Offset
  • Weight: 350g
  • Loft: 3°
  • Lie: 70°
  • Lengths: 33″, 34″, & 35″

 

WHP D.A.R.T. MINI

Odyssey White Hot Pro06
Odyssey White Hot Pro05
Odyssey White Hot Pro07
Odyssey White Hot Pro08

White Hot Pro D.A.R.T. MINI Features

  • Perimeter-weighted Mallet Head
  • D.A.R.T. alignment system
  • Smaller than the original D.A.R.T.
  • Double-bend shaft
  • Full-Offset
  • Adjustable Weight: 350, 360, or 370g
  • Loft: 3°
  • Lie: 70°
  • Lengths: 33″, 34″, & 35″

Other One Dash Putters:  WHP D.A.R.T.WHP 2-BallWHP #7WHP RossieWHP #5


Slight Toe Hang – Two Dash Putters

 

WHP 2-Ball Blade

Odyssey White Hot Pro29
Odyssey White Hot Pro30
Odyssey White Hot Pro32
Odyssey White Hot Pro33

White Hot Pro 2-Ball Blade Features

  • Blade-like head featuring the 2-Ball alignment system
  • Crank-Neck Hosel
  • Full-Offset
  • Adjustable Weight: 350, 360, or 370g
  • Loft: 3°
  • Lie: 70°
  • Lengths: 33″, 34″, & 35″

Other Two Dash Putters:  White Hot Pro #1


Moderate Toe Hang – Three Dash Putters

 

WHP #3

Odyssey White Hot Pro12
Odyssey White Hot Pro20
Odyssey White Hot Pro13
Odyssey White Hot Pro11

White Hot Pro #3 Features

  • Heel-toe-weighted blade
  • Soft-Stepped Pocket
  • Flow-Neck Hosel
  • Half-shaft Offset
  • Weight: 343g
  • Loft: 3°
  • Lie: 70°
  • Lengths: 33″, 34″, & 35″

Other Three Dash Putters:  None


Advanced Toe Hang – Four Dash Putters

Four Dash Putters: White Hot Pro #9

 

What Looks Old is Actually Quite New

White Hot Pro does share most of its name with the old White Hot Odyssey putter line, but this is definitely not the old line with new paint.  The Odyssey White Hot Pro insert keeps the characteristics that made the original White Hot a favorite, and makes it even better.  Consumers will likely find his or her favorite head shape, along with some that are new to the line.  2013 is truly the year of the Versa for Odyssey, but the White Hot Pro line should not be overlooked, especially if you are not a fan of the Versa alignment system.  The White Hot Pros are more traditional in appearance and also familiar in feel.  That’s a combination that should make Odyssey players very happy.

Poll Question

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

Post image for Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

How many different putters get overlooked each season?

(by Dave Wolfe)  Think about it for a second.  The number of putters that come to market each year is staggering.  I don’t even really know the ballpark figure for the number of putters produced worldwide.  One million putters? Two million?  I think that it is safe to say that a lot of putters are produced each year. How about the number of different models made each year?  That number is not as huge, but still quite large.  Small companies may roll out a new model or two, while the larger ones may make a few dozen new putter models.  It’s a lot to keep track of, even for the greatest of putter-philes.

With so many new putters coming to market, it is possible, if not probable, that some really exceptional putters will get lost and overlooked in your shop’s putter corral.  With this in mind, today I bring you the first installment of the P-Files: Discovering The Unknown Flatsticks.

Just because a putter slips by the masses doesn’t mean that it is not worth investigating.  In the words of FBI Agent pro golfer Bryce “Fox” Molder, the truth is out there1.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at today’s P-File putter: The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT.

 

How Did We Miss It?

So far, 2013 has been all about the Versa and the White Hot Pro putter lines, with the soon to be released ProType IX line making a name for itself with it’s adjustable sole weights (Included, BTW.  How about that Mr. Cameron?).  The ProType Tour line made a big splash in 2012, if for no other reason than it included the first 2-Ball with a fully-milled, insert-free face.  Odyssey later in the year expanded the line to include the ProType Black putters, whose ninja-black 2-Ball crushed many a competitor in the Most Wanted Mallet Competition.

Odyssey definitely made a statement in the milled putter arena last year, and then came the Versa.  It’s no wonder that much of the 2013 Odyssey energy went in to the Versa line.  It represented a new idea in alignment and included thirteen different models, plus some sneaky Tour-Only variants like the Versa Sabertooth.  The soon to follow White Hot Pro line jumped the putter model count up by another sixteen models.  That’s almost thirty different putters that Odyssey needed to promote over the two lines.  Some things needed to be pushed aside and not promoted as much.

But some of us out there are putter seekers.  We go looking for stuff.  We already know that Odyssey has released new cigar themed grip and headcovers.  We know that some of the Versas now come with a SuperStroke Grip option.  Even the most dedicated putter seeker may have missed the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT though.  It arrived on the Odyssey website with no fanfare, and has since disappeared from their site.  Did you see it?  Did you notice when it left?  Sightings of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are now viewed with the same skepticism as the Jersey Devil and the Chupacabra.

Why Is It Worth Looking For?

While a cryptozoologist may come up with numerous, nebulous answers to that question, the fact that the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is a mighty fine putter is answer enough.  Let’s take a look at some of its alleged characteristics.  People who have allegly seen, and supposedly used the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT report the following:

Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT Specifications

  • Material: 100% 1025 Milled Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 350g
  • Toe Hang: about 4:00
  • Length Tested: 34?
  • Finish: Satin
  • Grip: Lamkin 3GEN Pistol

Looks

The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is reported to have the same rich, yet non-reflective finish that is found on the other Odyssey ProType Tour models.  Its face milling is deep and precise, with simple red and black paint accents complementing the finish and the Lamkin 3GEN grip.

Those who have only caught a quick glimpse of the 4HT have reported that it is a Zing/Laguna-style head with a pumbers neck.  Further investigation has revealed something more unique and peculiar; the 4HT features a High Toe.  This high toe feature must have been taken into account when the crypto-puttologists added the “HT” descriptor to its official name.  If we study the photos, we can see that the toe end of the putter is definitely higher than the heel.  From the side, the elevated toe region is quite pronounced.

 

Feel

Few golfers have ever seen the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT, and fewer still have ever rolled one.  The consensus though is that the deep milling and 1025 carbon steel combine to produce one of the softest rolling putters in the line.  Some have reported that the thicker face does produce a more muted feeling at impact than found in the ProType blade-type models that feature deeper cavities.  The sweet spot is fairly tight on the 4HT, with off-center strikes producing a dull impact.  While missing the center of the face is seldom intended, some will welcome this feedback as a pathway to improving.

 

Alignment

The markings on the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are minimal, with only a single small sight line facilitating targeting.  Our reports do say that the high toe also plays a role in the targeting process.  The high toe gives the illusion of an upright lie angle, while actually staying flat to the putting surface.  As with many visual features, this will be welcomed by some, and dismissed by others.  The high toe does blend nicely into the overall body at address, only really showing its extreme geometry in profile.

 

Who Should Think About Bagging this Recluse?

I think that the Odyssey ProType Tour HT4 is a bit of a fitting enigma.  The plumbers neck and toe hang put it into the slight arc putting realm, what Odyssey would likely call Two Lines in their new eyeFit system.  The high toe morphology may put a wrench in this system though.  The high toe promotes a comfortable address position with the eyes more over the ball.  This takes us into one line eyeFit territory.  It’s a bit of a conundrum on the eyeFit mirror, but course experience supports the placement of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT into the hands of the slight-arcing putter.

 

Have You Seen It?

By all accounts, the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT was an excellent and unique addition to the ProType Tour line of putters.  We may never know the reasons why it vanished from the Odyssey line-up, but I am confident that the tenacious putter seeker, whose use of the powerful Google tool runs unimpeded, can still find it.  For the whole story though, we need to hear from you.  Have you seen the 4HT in the wild?  Were you lucky enough to roll it?  What did you experience?  Leave a comment below and let us know your experiences.  Remember, I want to believe!

1.  For the record, I do not know for sure that Bryce Molder has ever said this, but I think that it is possible.  I also do not actually believe that he has ever been an agent of the FBI.  Pro golf and FBI training do not seem to have much overlap.  For all I know, he hates the X-Files.  I do want to start referring to him as Spooky Molder though.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

Post image for Hidden Gems: Odyssey ProType 4HT

How many different putters get overlooked each season?

(by Dave Wolfe)  Think about it for a second.  The number of putters that come to market each year is staggering.  I don’t even really know the ballpark figure for the number of putters produced worldwide.  One million putters? Two million?  I think that it is safe to say that a lot of putters are produced each year. How about the number of different models made each year?  That number is not as huge, but still quite large.  Small companies may roll out a new model or two, while the larger ones may make a few dozen new putter models.  It’s a lot to keep track of, even for the greatest of putter-philes.

With so many new putters coming to market, it is possible, if not probable, that some really exceptional putters will get lost and overlooked in your shop’s putter corral.  With this in mind, today I bring you the first installment of the P-Files: Discovering The Unknown Flatsticks.

Just because a putter slips by the masses doesn’t mean that it is not worth investigating.  In the words of FBI Agent pro golfer Bryce “Fox” Molder, the truth is out there1.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at today’s P-File putter: The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT.

 

How Did We Miss It?

So far, 2013 has been all about the Versa and the White Hot Pro putter lines, with the soon to be released ProType IX line making a name for itself with it’s adjustable sole weights (Included, BTW.  How about that Mr. Cameron?).  The ProType Tour line made a big splash in 2012, if for no other reason than it included the first 2-Ball with a fully-milled, insert-free face.  Odyssey later in the year expanded the line to include the ProType Black putters, whose ninja-black 2-Ball crushed many a competitor in the Most Wanted Mallet Competition.

Odyssey definitely made a statement in the milled putter arena last year, and then came the Versa.  It’s no wonder that much of the 2013 Odyssey energy went in to the Versa line.  It represented a new idea in alignment and included thirteen different models, plus some sneaky Tour-Only variants like the Versa Sabertooth.  The soon to follow White Hot Pro line jumped the putter model count up by another sixteen models.  That’s almost thirty different putters that Odyssey needed to promote over the two lines.  Some things needed to be pushed aside and not promoted as much.

But some of us out there are putter seekers.  We go looking for stuff.  We already know that Odyssey has released new cigar themed grip and headcovers.  We know that some of the Versas now come with a SuperStroke Grip option.  Even the most dedicated putter seeker may have missed the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT though.  It arrived on the Odyssey website with no fanfare, and has since disappeared from their site.  Did you see it?  Did you notice when it left?  Sightings of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are now viewed with the same skepticism as the Jersey Devil and the Chupacabra.

Why Is It Worth Looking For?

While a cryptozoologist may come up with numerous, nebulous answers to that question, the fact that the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is a mighty fine putter is answer enough.  Let’s take a look at some of its alleged characteristics.  People who have allegly seen, and supposedly used the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT report the following:

Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT Specifications

  • Material: 100% 1025 Milled Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 350g
  • Toe Hang: about 4:00
  • Length Tested: 34?
  • Finish: Satin
  • Grip: Lamkin 3GEN Pistol

Looks

The Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT is reported to have the same rich, yet non-reflective finish that is found on the other Odyssey ProType Tour models.  Its face milling is deep and precise, with simple red and black paint accents complementing the finish and the Lamkin 3GEN grip.

Those who have only caught a quick glimpse of the 4HT have reported that it is a Zing/Laguna-style head with a pumbers neck.  Further investigation has revealed something more unique and peculiar; the 4HT features a High Toe.  This high toe feature must have been taken into account when the crypto-puttologists added the “HT” descriptor to its official name.  If we study the photos, we can see that the toe end of the putter is definitely higher than the heel.  From the side, the elevated toe region is quite pronounced.

 

Feel

Few golfers have ever seen the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT, and fewer still have ever rolled one.  The consensus though is that the deep milling and 1025 carbon steel combine to produce one of the softest rolling putters in the line.  Some have reported that the thicker face does produce a more muted feeling at impact than found in the ProType blade-type models that feature deeper cavities.  The sweet spot is fairly tight on the 4HT, with off-center strikes producing a dull impact.  While missing the center of the face is seldom intended, some will welcome this feedback as a pathway to improving.

 

Alignment

The markings on the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT are minimal, with only a single small sight line facilitating targeting.  Our reports do say that the high toe also plays a role in the targeting process.  The high toe gives the illusion of an upright lie angle, while actually staying flat to the putting surface.  As with many visual features, this will be welcomed by some, and dismissed by others.  The high toe does blend nicely into the overall body at address, only really showing its extreme geometry in profile.

 

Who Should Think About Bagging this Recluse?

I think that the Odyssey ProType Tour HT4 is a bit of a fitting enigma.  The plumbers neck and toe hang put it into the slight arc putting realm, what Odyssey would likely call Two Lines in their new eyeFit system.  The high toe morphology may put a wrench in this system though.  The high toe promotes a comfortable address position with the eyes more over the ball.  This takes us into one line eyeFit territory.  It’s a bit of a conundrum on the eyeFit mirror, but course experience supports the placement of the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT into the hands of the slight-arcing putter.

 

Have You Seen It?

By all accounts, the Odyssey ProType Tour 4HT was an excellent and unique addition to the ProType Tour line of putters.  We may never know the reasons why it vanished from the Odyssey line-up, but I am confident that the tenacious putter seeker, whose use of the powerful Google tool runs unimpeded, can still find it.  For the whole story though, we need to hear from you.  Have you seen the 4HT in the wild?  Were you lucky enough to roll it?  What did you experience?  Leave a comment below and let us know your experiences.  Remember, I want to believe!

1.  For the record, I do not know for sure that Bryce Molder has ever said this, but I think that it is possible.  I also do not actually believe that he has ever been an agent of the FBI.  Pro golf and FBI training do not seem to have much overlap.  For all I know, he hates the X-Files.  I do want to start referring to him as Spooky Molder though.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

FIRST LOOK – The Odyssey eyeFIT Putter Fitting Mirror

FIRST LOOK – The Odyssey eyeFIT Putter Fitting Mirror

Post image for FIRST LOOK – The Odyssey eyeFIT Putter Fitting Mirror

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

(by Golfspy Dave)  Putter fitting, who needs it?  We all know that many average golfers get “fit” for a putter by grabbing one that they like the looks of in the shop, rolling a few balls on the carpet, checking the price, and then taking it to the course.  Don’t start in on your SAM lab fitting specs and the hours that you spent choosing your putter’s features with your pro.

If you visit this site, you probably are not the average golf consumer.  Think about Joe and Jane golfer though.  Do they use the SAM lab?  Did they buy the cradle to use the iPING app on their phone?  Average golfer says “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”  Seriously, isn’t picking a putter all about choosing one that you like the looks of, those looks inspiring confidence, and that confidence will naturally translating into made putts?  Isn’t that how we also shop for clothes?  ”I like the look of them trousers.  Try them on, you ask?  Not necessary.  They look so good I know that they will fit and make me look great.”

A Putter Fitting = A Putter That Fits

Get fit, get fit, get fit.  That has been a common theme on MyGolfSpy for a long time (forever?).  We all know that we play better with custom fitted gear, just like we look better in a tailored suit (or dress).

We know this, and yet many golfers will only bag 13 custom-fitted clubs, with the putter being selected for more emotional/less-scientific reasons.  Why is this the case?

Maybe it’s a perception that putter fitting is not really necessary, that fittings are too expensive, or that the resulting data (SAM) is just too complicated.  I think that PING introducing the iPING putting app and cradle represented a major step in educating the golfing masses about putter fitting.  Buy the cradle, download the app, and learn something new about swing path and how it relates to your suggested style of putter.  Again, I think that this was a huge advance in putter fitting, but it was still something that was too complicated for average golfer.  Cheap average golfer was not going to buy the cradle anyway.  iPING made putter fitting more accessible, but still not quite to the level needed for Joe and Jane.  Then came Odyssey’s eyeFIT.

K.I.S.S.

That is one of my favorite abbreviations and credos in life.  Keep it simple, stupid.  As soon as something becomes too complicated, like many putter fitting tools, then it probably causes the average golfer to tune out.  Not you, because again your reading articles on this site screams not average.  However, Mr. Dropping-By-Dick’s-Real-Quick-To-Buy-A-Putter wants things to be really simple, and fast. There in lies the beauty of the Odyssey eyeFIT system, it couldn’t be faster or more simple.  Seriously simple.  Here are the steps for finding the putter that fits you:

Ask Yourself These Questions:

There is no cradle to attach, app to download, sensor to calibrate, moving parts, need for someone in the shop to help, or any other complexity.  Ask yourself these questions:

:: Can you hold a putter?
:: Can you address a ball with that putter?
:: Can you look down?
:: Do you know which parts of your face are the eyes?
:: Can you count to four?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then I hope that you didn’t drive a car to the course.  Your car is a million times more complicated (and dangerous) than Odyssey’s eyeFIT system.  You walk up to the mirror, take a comfortable address stance, then look down to see where your eyes line up on the mirrored sections.  It’s so easy, you can almost do it through the computer monitor.  Here’s the whole chart, try it…

The chart was developed by Odyssey putter gurus, like Austie Rollinson, by looking at the correlation between tour players’ eye positions over the ball and the positions of the hosels on their putters.  Eye position and hosel position should be in sync if one is to have the best chance of making putts.  Each dash on the chart represents the movement of the hosel toward the rear of the putter.

What also happens, of course, is that when the hosel moves further toward the rear, the toe hang of the putter increases.  Intuitively, you can also look at the eye lines and know that someone putting from line four will likely require more of an arcing stroke than someone at line one.  The eyeFIT sets up a simple visual correlation between swing arc and toe hang, without the consumer ever having to know what those are, let alone what a hosel is and how moving a hosel changes the putter.

Instead, they go.  ”I see my eyes.  I need a two dash putter.”  Both the Versa line and the White Hot Pro putter lines have the dashes on the bottom.  The consumer then just chooses the model with the correct number of dashes that they like the best.  It’s a simple way to find the right putter and a great way for Odyssey to sell even more putters.

But What About…?

I know, I know, there are other putter features that should be addressed if one is to have a truly comprehensive putter fitting.  The eyeFIT does not provide all of the data that you would get from a complete fitting, and that is its simple genius.

A golfer who wants all of the intricacies and nuances of his putting stroke to go into his putter might want to consider making an appointment with a master fitter and puttersmith, maybe like a David Edel.  I think that there are over a million possible putter configurations on his fitting cart.  The resulting putter will be truly custom fit.

However, I don’t think that Odyssey envisions the eyeFIT carving out a piece of that full-custom market.  Instead,  Odyssey’s eyeFIT enables the unwashed masses of previously un-putter-fitted golfers to make a simple step toward playing the correct club on the green.  Joe and Jane’s games just got a little bit better simply by standing over a mirror and looking down. That’s the eyeFIT genius.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

The Odyssey Arm Lock #7 & Why It’s Asinine to Ban Anchoring

The Odyssey Arm Lock #7 & Why It’s Asinine to Ban Anchoring

Post image for The Odyssey Arm Lock #7 & Why It’s Asinine to Ban Anchoring

(Written by: Golfspy Dave)

Golf is a silly and very difficult game.  It’s ridiculously difficult actually.  Think about the inability of the average non-golfer to participate in a “pick-up” round of golf compared to other sports.  Someone who plays basketball for the first time probably makes a basket; the novice football player may even catch a pass.  Who shoots par the first time they play golf?  Who even pars one hole that first time out?

The brutal nature of the game even mandates a handicap system so that the wide range of skilled golfers can compete with each other mathematically rather than physically.  Golf is hard.  Practice and repetition are paramount to even minor improvements in one’s game.  I can’t think of another sport where people dedicate their entire lives to incremental, frequently infinitesimal, improvements.  The passionate quest for improvement drives a huge equipment industry that routinely produces the latest and greatest clubs, as well as multitudes of borderline-sadistic “training aids” to help golfers get better quicker.  Getting your correct set of golf gear is no small fiscal task.

The crazy thing about golf though is the fact even after you have invested in your gear and are ready to play; the rules about equipment can change and continue to add difficulty to an already difficult game.  I could bring up the max driver volume restrictions, the banning of grooves, or other governing decisions, but I want to throw my hat in the ring about the latest anchored putter debate.

To put it right out there, I am against the ban.  I think that it is at best ridiculous and definitely unnecessary.  We know that if there was truly a competitive advantage to the anchored putter that all of the professional golfers on all tours would be gaming them.  Remember that madness with the Ping Eye 2 wedges when the groove ban went into place?  PGA guys bagged those wedges, attempting to get an edge.  If the long putter worked better, more (all?) pros would use it.

What about the success of Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, and Keegan Bradley you ask?  Why are they so accurate with the long putter?  It must be unfair!  These guys are good with the long putters because they have been training with them for a long time! Seriously, how long has Webb used that belly putter?  What model of Ping is it?  G5 Craz-e?  When did that come to market?  2005?  Webb putts amazingly well with that putter because he has been using the same putter for years and years.  His aiming and touch is second nature at this point because of familiarity, not the magic powers of an 8-year-old putter.  Anchoring, cheating, blah blah blah.  People putt better when they find a putter that “works” for them, and then roll about a million putts with it.  Would the anchored putter guys play worse if they had to game a different putter?  Would you?

The true silliness of the anchoring ban is best demonstrated by the putter I have to share with you today:  Odyssey’s Arm Lock #7.  This putter is not silly, far from it actually.  Instead, it shows just how diverse the putter field should be if we are to provide all golfers the right tools to succeed at this difficult game.

Meet: The “Arm Lock”

My first look at the Odyssey Arm Lock #7 actually came at Callaway/Odyssey HQ in Carlsbad last December when some of us were fortunate enough to visit.  Our visit occurred on the day, or a few days after the USGA announced their anchoring position.  While we were learning about the 2013 Callaway and Odyssey gear, Odyssey’s Global Director Chris Koske brought out the “Arm Lock”.  The putting style promoted by the Arm Lock was not new, Matt Kucher has been “arm-locking” a putter for years.  We all saw how he was a one-putt machine at the WGC Match Play this year with his Bettinardi.

Why then is Odyssey introducing the Arm Lock putters (#7 and D.A.R.T.) if they don’t reflect a new putting style? Is Odyssey, the clear leader in putter sales worldwide, just trying to grab banned belly players?  Are they trying to have the new technically not cheating long putter? Or perhaps does offering the Arm Lock allude to something else entirely?

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Does The Odyssey Arm Lock Create a Competitive Advantage?

The answer is yes.  But let me qualify that with the phrase “for some”.  Some golfers will pick up the Odyssey Arm Lock #7 and they will mesh very well with its aesthetics and required putting stroke.  Others will try it and get nothing but hole-missing awkwardness.  But guess what, that’s what happens in every single golfer and putter relationship!

How many putters are in your local shop? How many head styles, different metals, lengths, inserts, colors, grips, headcovers, and so on?  How many of you have a putter that you sink putts with and a whole bunch of other putters that you would never consider gaming because you suck with them?  That would be all of us.  We find a putter that suits our stroke and our nebulous sense for feel and aesthetics.  We have a lot of options out there because we all want different things.

Anchored, blade, mallet, heel-shafted, center-shafted, and arm lock putters are all designed to give an individual golfer an advantage on the green! And guess what, not every putter works for every golfer.  That is why this anchoring ban is so asinine.  Raise your hand if you tried an anchored putter.  Keep that hand up if you are still using it.  I tested three, maybe four belly putters last year, and yet I still game a 34” putter.  I get the belly concept, and I could even make some putts with them, but I feel like I am more accurate, comfortable, and consistent with the 34” stick, so that’s what I putt with.  Do I care if someone I play with uses a long putter?  No.  If they putt better than I do am I going to cry foul and blame their “cheater” equipment?  No.  They putted better than I did because they are a better player.  Of all of the equipment, to think that a putter style represents a miracle cure is just folly.  If you want the game of golf to become standardized (aka bulls-eyes for everyone), that’s one thing, but if the intention of the anchoring ban is to remove advantage, I just don’t see it.

 

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Back to The Arm Lock

The Odyssey Arm Lock #7 is unlikely to be my long-term gamer.  Granted, a long-term gamer is not something that one who is as putter schizophrenic as myself is likely to have.  That being said, the only reason that I would not game the Arm Lock is that the style of the swing really doesn’t suit my tastes.  I have always liked the #7 head, and the Metal-X insert is one of my favorite inserts.  I have a 34″, Metal-X #7 in my garage right now.  The Arm Lock continues Odyssey’s commitment to excellence; there is not even a modicum of low quality, or speck of flawed design in this putter.  I just wasn’t as comfortable with it as I am with a standard stick.

With the Arm Lock, I had the unconscious tendency to exaggerate the forward position of my left arm with the putter.  When I did this, I missed the hole.  However, when I realized what I was doing and added an “arm position” pre-putt mental checkpoint, my putting improved.  I get the style, and I see how someone could like the enhanced stability by bracing the putter to the left arm.  It’s just not what I am looking for at this point.  But I feel very confident in saying that the Odyssey Arm Lock may be just what some of you are looking for, not because it’s better, but because it’s different.  And the difference is the key to this putter.

There Can’t Be Only One!

Kudos to Odyssey for adding the Arm Lock putters to their line-up this year.  I think that the more diverse the putter corral can be, the better.  You cynics out there are likely saying that Odyssey only brought these putters to market to make money with the possible banning of the anchored putters.  To you I say “Well duh”.  A for-profit company trying to grab part of the highly competitive marketplace in order to boost profits?  Again, duh.  Economics aside, a big golf company like Odyssey introducing the Arm Lock to the average golfer is good for golf.  It’s good for golf because it gives a segment of golfers a new putting tool that will help them to play better.

A diverse pool of putters is critical for all golfers to have the greatest chance for success playing this ridiculously difficult game. The anchored putter, and other putters like Odyssey’s Arm Lock are advantageous for some players, but not for all.  That putter has not yet been found.  I know, I’m looking for it every day.  But there are putters out there that make the individual a better player.  It seems almost criminal to take such a putter out of someone’s bag be they amateur or pro.

Let’s drop this whole anchoring madness and get back to the real issues with the game like slow play, five-somes, holes punched in a 7% slope, denim, and $8 beers.

 

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